L i f e : 1896 - 1922
August 28, 1896
 

Birthplace at Old Policelines, Chotila
Road and Building Dept. of Government of Gujarat holds the charge of this historic monument
   
   
Born on  August 28, 1896  -  Vikram Samvat 1952, Shraavan Vad Paancham (Naag Panchami)
at  Chotila (Surendranagar District, Gujarat State, India)
in a
 
Dashaa Shrimaali Jain Vanik  family
 

Bust at the foothill of Chamunda Hill

 
father  Kalidas Devchand Meghani 


mother  Dholiba

Kalidas Meghani,  a Braveheart Policeman in British Kathiawaar Agency Police,
was posted as Fojhadaar (Police Sub-Inspector) at Chotila

Dando (baton) used by Policeman Kalidas Meghani
     

Some of the Historic Monuments at Chotila Policelines


Jail

Police Station

Horse-stable
 


Janma Kundali  (Horoscope)

 
Meghani recollects
Rajkot Memoirs
  
No place was perhaps dearer to his heart than Rajkot !

He arrived here as a Two-year Toddler and stayed on for the next Six years,
which saw him blossom into an Eight-year Bonny Boy.
 
  
Policelines at Sadar Bazaar where he stayed with his policeman father
Family of ten lived on his father's monthly salary of rupees 15

     

courtesy  Lang Library, Rajkot
Connaught Hall
often visited with his family

Artist  Jagdeep Smart
Governer's Convoy
went with his teachers to watch

courtesy  European Gymkhana, Rajkot
European Gymkhana
loved to watch the Royals playing cricket
  
Meghani recollects
School Years
 
First School Attended : 1901
Taluka School, Sadar, Rajkot
( now : Raashtreeya Shaayar Jhaverchand Meghani Primary School No. 8 )
 

Rajkot School Register
 
 

Datha

Paliyad

Jhinjhuwada
 
Primary Education
continued at
Datha,
Paliyad, Jhinjhuwada, Wadhwan Camp, Lakhapadar, Bagasara
 

Wadhwan Camp 
(now Surendranagar)

Lakhapadar

Bagasara
 
 

Middle School
Bagasara
 
 
Matriculation : 1912
Government High School, Amreli
( now : TP and MT Gandhi Girls School )
 
 
Was a bright student who always topped the class.
Loved to read. Read mainly Kalapi and Nhanalal.
      
 
Sursinhji Gohil  'Kalapi'
(1874-1900)

Kalapi-no Kekaaraav
his complete poems
click here for more pictures of Kalapi
        
 
Nhanalal Kavi
(1877-1946)

Jaya-Jayant
one of his better-known works
  
Wrote poems which he would sing in his vibrant voice.

Jain Paathshaalaa, Bagasara
First Poem at the age of 12
A philanthropist,
Chimanaji Velaji, visiting the Jain Paathshaalaa (study centre) at Bagasara took out a donation.
The
Jain Muni Manekchandji there announced -- "this Jhavabhai of ours will now thank the donor in his own way".
And the boy Jhaver, without delay or fuss whatsoever, burst into a
spontaneously composed four-line thanks-giving verse.
The donor, in appreciation, gave a
prize of Rupees 25.
  
'Vilapi' was one of the pseudonyms he used.
Baal Mitra Mandal
Formed Baal Mitra Mandal, a group of school friends at Bagasara,
and carried out various social and cultural activities under its banner.
 
Friends at Bagasara School

Girdharlal Kalidas Desai
   (1898-1956)

Gulabchand Moolji Vakhariya
(1893-1980)

Lalchand Jaichand Vora
(1896-1989)
and their homes where he was a regular visitor

Girdharlal Desai
Upaashray Sheri

Gulabchand Vakhariya
Vakhariya Sheri, Naani Bazaar
  
 Gulabchand Vakhariya (Brain), Girdharlal Desai (Hand), Meghani (Heart) were the core members of the group.
 
 The group
performed historical and social dramas on the Annual Social Gathering
which were enjoyed and appreciated by people from all walks of life.

Rana Pratap

Julius Caesar

Sikandar

Hamlet

Shahjahan
Meghani was associated with all aspects of the drama : selecting the theme, writing the script,
picking up the cast, designing costumes and stage, directing and even acting. 

Khetani Jain Boarding, Amreli
Morning Prayer
Composed by him which continued to be sung at the
Boarding School at Amreli even after he left it.
On passing his Matriculation examination, he was presented with a Maan-Patra (citation) at a function
organised by his friends of Baal Mitra Mandal on the terrace of
Darbargadh of Bagasara.
He thanked his friends quoting Sanskrit verses.
College Years
 

Samaldas College, Bhavnagar

Bahauddin College, Junagadh
        
 
1913 Previous Samaldas College, Bhavnagar
1914 Inter Arts Samaldas College, Bhavnagar
1915 Junior B A - 1st term Bahauddin College, Junagadh
1915 Junior B A - 2nd term Samaldas College, Bhavnagar
1917 B A
( English and Sanskrit )
Samaldas College, Bhavnagar
   
   
  
Samaldas College, Bhavnagar
On passing his Matriculation examination from Government High School, Amreli in 1912,
he joined
Samaldas College, Bhavnagar in 1913.
He was more inclined towards Literature and Language.
Took active part in
College Debates and Social gatherings.
He lived a simple life.
A white long coat, a dhoti reaching well down the knees and a turban typically tied around his head
was his regular attire in the college.
  His simple and sober nature prompted his college mates to call him Raja Janak
He washed his own clothes and took bath with cold water even in chilly winter mornings.
He didnot take anything between the two regular meals -- not even tea.
Samaldas College Hostels, Bhavnagar
where he stayed

Old Residency
behind Jasonath Mahadev Temple

New Residency
near Samaldas College


Jasonath Mahadev Temple, Bhavnagar
Every Poonam (full moon) night the students organised a gathering on the premises of Jasonath Mahadev Temple.
He sang,  in his sweet melodious voice, poems of Kalapi and Nhanalal.
Close Friend at Samaldas College, Bhavnagar

Kapilbhai Parmanand Thakkar  'Majnu'
(1892-1959)
Poet, Writer, Critic, Columnist and
nephew of
Thakkar Bapa
  

Ghanti - a pair of grinding stones
Meghani used to help Kapilbhai's
wife Ujamben and sister Kanchanben

Kapilbhai's house
in Vasani Faliyu, Danapeeth

Dagger
which Meghani gifted to Kapilbhai
  
Close to the entire family, he often visited them.
 
 
Thakkar Brothers
left to right
Ramubhai, Kapilbhai, Anantbhai
First Performance in Public Singing
1914

Sir Bhavsinhji Gohil
Maharaja of
Bhavnagar

Aradeshar Khabardar
Noted Gujarati Poet
Meghani sang Khabardar's popular song `Amaaree Gunavantee Gujarat'
during an
Annual Social Gathering of Samaldas College
with emotion
which held spellbound the entire audience including the chief guest,
Maharaja of Bhavnagar.

1941 issue

Poem

Prose
Contributed to The Samaldas College Magazine under the pseudonym of `M'.
He had started taking interest in the game of Tennis and was invariably to be spotted on the court,
dot on time, racket in hand, whenever it was the turn of his group to take to the court.
He soon excelled at the game, and in one of the tournaments even reached the semi-final stage !

As for Cricket, he enjoyed watching good, interesting matches.
 
 
Bahauddin College, Junagadh
Bahauddin College, he felt, would be a better place for the study of Sanskrit,
and he therefore moved over there in 1915, only to return to Samaldas College after just one term.

Gaurishankar Joshi  `
Dhoomketu'
(1892-1965)
who was later to sparkle in the firmament of Gujarati literature
was his classmate at Bahauddin College, Junagadh.
Hostels at Junagadh
where he stayed


Dasha Shrimaali Vanik Vidhaarthi Bhavan


Register of Vanik Vidhaarthi Bhavan


Bahauddin College Residency

   
   
Sanatan Dharma High School, Bhavnagar Audichya Brahmin Boarding, Bhavnagar
While teaching at Sanatan Dharma High School at Bhavnagar he read for M A.
and also worked as Rector at Audichya Brahmin Boarding.
  
1918 - 1921  :  Calcutta
 


Raj Bhavan

Victoria Memorial

Howrah Bridge

Kali Ghat

Writer's Building
The City of Joy

High Court

Marble Palace

St. Paul's Cathedral

Indian Museum

General Post Office
 
On getting the news of the ill-health of his elder brother
Lalchandbhai
who had settled at Calcutta
(now Kolkota) rushed there, leaving mid-way everything on hand at Bhavnagar.
  
Learned, and perfected in no time,  Bangla by . . .
 

  

Chowranghee

Burra Bazaar

BBD Bagh
... trying and deciphering Street Signboards
 

Dwijendralal Roy
(1863 - 1913)

Star Theatre

Raja Ram Mohan Roy
 
(1774 - 1833)

Brahmo Samaj
... reading and watching Bengali Theatre and Drama ... attending Sunday Weekly Meetings of Brahmo Samaj
   

Rabindranath Tagore
(1861-1941)

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhay
(1838 - 1894)


Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumdar
(1877 - 1957)

Dinesh Chandra Sen
(1866 - 1939)
... reading Bengali Poetry ... reading Bengali Novels ... studying Bengali Folklore
... and thus slowly soaked himself in Bengali literature 
     
    

First Song he composed during his stay at Calcutta
1918
   
        

 
 

Jeevanlal and Co.
Manufacturers of Aluminium Kitchen Utensils

Jeevanlal Motichand Shah
(1881-1971)
owner
 
  He joined Jeevanlal and Co. in 1918 as Personal Assistant of the owner Jeevanlal Shah.
He was the first graduate to join the company.
    
Mehta Building, 55,Canning Street
Office of the Company
 
The company carried out all its business operations in English with a refreshing modern outlook.


 
He was soon promoted as the Manager of the company's factory at Belur,
Crown Aluminium,
which had a workforce of over 500 people.

Fondly called Paghadee Babu by his  colleagues and workers alike,
he was loved by one and all for his simple, unassuming nature.
"I am," he would often say,
"but a glorified labourer."
  
  

Armenian Ghat
Rising early, every morning, he would get ready within no time.
Dressed in his traditional attire of a dhoti
and a coat
with a turban typically tied around his head in a style all his own
,
he would  set off on his bicycle for the  
Armenian Ghat on the eastern bank of the river Hoogly.
 

Ferry
From there he would embark a ferry along with his bicycle for which too he had a monthly pre-paid pass !
 

Belur Ghat
On reaching the Belur Ghat on the western bank
across the river he would disembark --
yes, along with his bicycle, which he would then ride again to reach the factory nearby.
       
  

picture from the passport
Visited England with the owner of the company
1919

Oxford University

Westminster Palace, London

Cambridge University
Visited London, Oxford University, Cambridge University and other places of interest
 
 

Lalchand Kalidas Meghani
Meghani's Eldest Brother
In 1917 Lalchandbhai started a firm called 'Upayogi Vastu Bhandar' at 14, Amartala Street which manufactured and sold essential things.
It later came to be known as 'L K Meghanee'.
1921

 

 
Written from Calcutta to his close childhood friend Gulabchand Vakhariya during a moment of rare inspiration.
 
September 18, 1921
        

Yes Kathiawaar; I Love you
 
The heart inside was restless.  It was as if Kathiawaar was calling him.
  
The friends were sarcastic : what exactly were the prospects there for one looking forward to live in Kathiawaar then --
and on pen at that -- which encouraged him to leave his present bread-giving job ?
  
 
The call however proved irresistable and, voluntarily foregoing a prospective career,
he returned to his native place Bagasara in Kathiawaar in November, 1921
 
Incidentally, the entire staff of the company was there at the railway station to see him off
as he left Calcutta for Kathiawaar.

           
Glimpses of Bagasara
his native place
Saatallee River Bageshwar Mahadev Ra' Mandalik's Memorial
Meghani's Mentor
 
  
        
Bagasara - Darbargadh
work-place

Darbargadh

Main Gate

Darbar Hall
              

Guest House
where Meghani stayed
    
     
Hadala
home

Darbargadh

Temple which Vajsurvala built
  

river Hadala

Guest House on the bank of river Hadala
where Meghani stayed

Banglawaadi
Meghani loved this cool spot
      
Meghani remembers Darbar Vajsur Vala
   
Vadia-Devali
Guest House of Darbar Vajsurvala ...


... where Meghani stayed whenever he visited Vadia along with Darbar Vajsurvala
  
Meghani's Kathi friends at Vadia-Devali
Darbar Bawavala Jivanavala
(1874-1930)
a close friend of
Kalapi and Darbar Vajsurvala
Darbar Suragvala Bawavala
(1904-1950)
Vadia estate
Vadia Palace
It was Darbar Vajsurvala who introduced Meghani to Darbar Suragvala,
a thinker and social reformist having deep interest in literature and folklore.
   

his wife Amarba Hathibhai Rambhai Vank
Administrator of Vadia estate
his house at Vadia
The couple opened up a treasure trove of Kathi marriage-songs before Meghani
who included these in
Chu(n)dadee, Volume 2,
a collection of marriage songs from various castes and communities first published in 1929.
1922

 
Married
Damyantiben
daughter of Shah Manilal Manekchand Khara and Diwalibai

August 18, 1922
 
... fulfilling the last wish of his terminally-ill sister, Labhuben.
   
 

People flocked the streets of Bagasara to watch the marriage procession of the first graduate of the town
which was taken out in a
Buggy
(chariot) pulled by two horses.
The song believed to have been composed by him specially for the occasion and full-throatedly rendered aloud,
at the instance of the friends there, right in the presence of Damyantiben,
the newly-wed bride being welcome at her Sasuraal (house of in-laws).
Incidentally, the bride was prevailed upon to enter her new home with her face uncovered -- something most unusual in those days.

     
       

Shah Manilal Manekchand Khara
Damyantiben's father
   

          

Shivlal Gosaliya
   Maasaa (maternal uncle)

Jam Ranjit Sinh
 (1872 - 1933)
Damyantiben was staying at
Jetpur with her Maasaa (maternal uncle) -- Shivlal Gosaliya,
who was the Diwaan of Bilkha state and
who is fondly remembered even today
as perhaps the only bowler in cricket to have taken the wicket of the legendary
Jam Ranjit Singh,
the fiery batsman feared by bowlers the world over, with the very first ball he ever bowled to him.
 
    
Bilkhaa-no Utaaro, Jetpur
the house of Shivlal Gosaliya and the venue of the marriage
     
      
Meghani remembers Shivlal Gosaliya
     
              
 
Damyantiben's handwriting

Sankalibai Gosaliya
Maasee (maternal aunt)
Damyantiben took down the poem recited by her Maasee (maternal aunt), Sankalibai Shivlal Gosaliya
  

 

the journey continues ...
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